Friday, September 6, 2013

It's Fall!!

September 6th...the day Fall has arrived at the Eschbach home!  Also known as...the day I could no longer keep myself from baking something with pumpkin  :)  I have my spiced cider and vanilla candle burning, the caramel apple hand soap is at the sink.  I ADORE fall!  I love the cooler weather, scarves, steaming lattes (pumpkin, of course), baking, crockpots filled with soup, cider pressing, football, and everywhere you go smelling like cinnamon.  I'm not a huge fan of rain, but I'll take it for the dry, sunny, crisp days that Fall also brings.  My husband thinks I'm crazy...he's a major summer fan.  And it's ok if you think I'm crazy too.  But I bet you'd change your mind if you were about to enjoy one of these goodies with me...

Fresh baked pumpkin cookies!  I'll probably make a cinnamon icing for these but they are TO DIE for with cream cheese frosting!

I've decided that everything I bake for the next month I am going to double so I can stock up my freezer with goodness! 

Here are a few other things I can't wait to make!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup  I tried this out last year, but the cinnamon flavor was a little overpowering.  It's definitely worth another try though...anything that can save me from a $4.50 trip to Starbucks!

Pumpkin Scones  This recipe claims to be a copycat of Starbucks so I'll definitely give it a try!

Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes  This one deserves a crowd, so I'll probably try it out for my upcoming NoonDay show that I'm hosting!

Pumpkin Cheesecake  This was my very first cheesecake I ever made, for Thanksgiving last year.  There might have even been some "this is the best cheesecake I've ever had" comments.  Wish I could take's all Paula Deen :)

Biscotti  LOVE homemade biscotti!  This is a recipe I've tried before, but I'm looking forward to finding a pumpkin one! 

Ok, this list is getting disgustingly long.  Any favorite fall recipes you'd like to share?? 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

This is the real deal.  Definitely not low fat, so if you're on a diet, look away!  My grandma was famous in our family for her homemade macaroni and cheese.  My mom would make her recipe for our birthday dinners.  And any time we got to spend the night at grandma and grandpa's, we could count on having mac and cheese.  It's so special to get to make something for my own family that has so many memories attached to it.  Disclaimer: this is one of those recipes that doesn't have exact measurements for the sauce.  You just need to taste as you go and decide how cheesy you want it. 

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

16 oz package of small elbow macaroni noodles
2 T butter
2 T flour
Dry mustard
2 cups milk
Medium or sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper

Cook noodles according to package.  I don't have a big enough casserole dish to use all of the noodles, but I like to have a bit extra to give my kiddos with some spaghetti sauce.  Drain cooked noodles and pour into a casserole dish. 

For the sauce:
Melt butter in a large sauce pan.  Add flour and a dash of dry mustard and mix well with a wire whisk.  Add milk slowly and stir until bubbly and starting to thicken.  This is the "wing it" part.  Add slices of cheese to the sauce and stir to combine.  I would add about 6-8 thick slices, then taste.  If it's cheesy enough, season with salt and pepper. 

Pour sauce over cooked noodles and stir to combine.  Add a handful of grated cheese to the top, then bake at 350 for 20 minutes or so, until bubbly and cheese on top is melted.  This is an easy recipe to make ahead and keep in the fridge until you are ready to bake it.  Baking time will be a little longer if it is cold, though. 


Turning Three

We've had a great weekend celebrating Calvin's third birthday.  This was the first birthday celebration that really felt like it was about him.  Let's admit it...the first couple are about us parents.  This year, I knew he would be excited about the decorations, and he would know there was something different and special about this day.  He was so excited and surprised by the decorations I put up after he went to bed.  And we spent the day doing all of his favorite things!  He is such a special little guy.  Such a great sense of humor.  Loves to laugh.  Loves to be around anyone who will listen to his constant chatter.  So sweet to everyone and gives tons of hugs and kisses.  Loves to help mommy around the house and daddy when he's working outside.  A little cautious, just like his mama, but when he sets his mind to it, he's quite the adventurer.  Our lives are so blessed by this little boy. 

Birthday hugs with my babies!

Mickey Mouse Pancakes and hot cocoa!


Fun at the park


Playing trains with daddy

Homemade birthday pizza while watching a movie
For his birthday party, we went pretty mellow.  Just grandparents and uncles over for a BBQ and trip to the park.  Calvin is so loved by his family and we are so blessed to have both sides close by.  He got some pretty awesome gifts.  A giant helicopter and matchbox cars, a playdough set, and an art set (with glitter glue, which I am very excited about!)

Grandma and grandpa Harley

Grandma and grandpa E

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Our little garden

Getting outside more often is one of the ways we are making life simpler.  Getting fresh air is especially beneficial for my kiddos...I swear they sleep better when we've been outside!  In our new house, we have a lovely little back yard.  Not huge, but we aren't in the stage of life right now that is conducive to a large yard, and all the time and energy it would take to maintain it.  It is fully fenced, has dirt, grass, trees, and a greenhouse...the perfect place for two year old adventures!  We've had a lot of fun cleaning up the yard and garden area and making it a fun and relaxing place to spend family time.  Jake put together our little fire pit today, so we'll be out making s'mores very soon!! 

I have never had a garden, and have actually never successfully kept any indoor plants alive.  So embarrassing!  But now that we have the space, we thought it would be fun to plant some vegetables and see how they do.  We bought mostly starts and they are doing great!  So excited to eat veggies from our very own garden!!

Doesn't it look scrumptious??!  We have lettuce, kale, pole beans, red peppers, broccoli and cauliflower.  So far, we've only lost one lettuce plant, but everything else is doing well!  And just today, I planted carrot seeds and sunflower seeds...we'll see what happens with those :)

SOOOO excited for fresh tomatoes!!  And thanks to a bag of Costco potting soil, they are HUGE!  And aren't the planter boxes lovely?  My dad made them for me :) 

And look at these beauties!  I love surprises from my garden!  There are a few random flowering plants around the house and I am always surprised when I go outside!  I didn't know I loved peonies until I went out this morning and cut them :)  And they smell so good!

Have you ever seen light purple roses?  They remind me of those tiny purple, pastel marshmallows :)
I am sitting here, so totally content with where God has brought us over the last few months.  Windows open, the smell of fresh flowers, kids napping...these are all things I am thankful for right at this moment!   

Thursday, June 6, 2013

GIve me the simple life

"Some find it pleasant dining on pheasant,
those things roll off my knife;
just give me tomatoes and mashed potatoes,
give me the simple life"
-Steve Tyrell (in Father of the Bride)
Have you seen Father of the Bride?  Those are two of my favorite movies and bring back fond memories of watching it with my dad, both of us trying not to cry.  We even watched it the night before my wedding...big mistake!  We both bawled :)  I watched it recently, and a few lines from the opening song have been playing in my head for days...give me the simple life.  Our pastor has also been doing a series from Ecclesiastes, about all the striving we do it life for things that are not eternal.  How much time is wasted gaining more and more in this life, and what is it worth?  Nothing in comparison to the salvation we receive from Jesus Christ. 
My head and heart have been battling over the last few weeks.  I have been craving the simple life.  Sometimes I just want to pick up our family and move to a little house on the prairie, away from the chaos of this life, and away from all the distractions that constantly seem to draw my focus away from what is most important in life. 
Don't get me wrong.  I love and am so grateful for the abundance of modern conveniences we have at our fingertips.  But that is the problem...I think I have become too in love with those things.  Why can't I be content spending my time playing with the kids in the backyard, working in the garden, baking fresh bread, hanging clothes out to dry, going for walks.  When did checking my facebook become more important than greeting my husband as he walks in the door from a day at work?  I don't even get that many calls or texts in a day, but if I forget my phone at home, I feel lost.  How did that happen?  Why have I let it happen? 
Is it possible to even achieve a simple life these days? The times have changed so drastically and it makes me sad about what life is going to be like when my kids grow up.  I want them to desire real relationships with people.  I want them to love spending time outside, away from the TV, phone, computer, tablet, Kindle, XBOX, or anything else that demands our attention.  I want my kids to be in awe of the beauty in God's creation, not in how amazing the graphics are on the newest game. 
I am, in no way, trying to be judgmental.  This is just the way our society has become, and I think we are all guilty of trying to keep up, to some degree.  This is just where my head and heart have been, and I think you can see my struggle. 
I want to make it my goal to create a simpler life.  I don't know exactly how that is going to happen, but I still want to make it a priority.  The Lord has blessed me with a love for homemaking.  I love learning how to make things from scratch.  I love keeping a clean, organized home (not that it always happens, but I try).  I don't think it's realistic to move to the prairie, but I think I can achieve a simpler life.    And I love spending time with my family, but I need to do a better job making them my priority.  Making them feel just how loved and special they are. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Too cute!

Sometimes I have to stop myself from watching these cute videos over and over, and remind myself that the real thing is right in front of me!  Calvin is in such a fun stage right now.  He is learning so much, so fast and it is such a joy to watch. 

Here are a couple of cute videos I was able to capture.  It's not always easy, considering this boy is constant motion!  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 28, 2013


I am constantly struck, these days, by how continually life changes.  For example, I am a total night owl.  I would rather stay up until 1 or 2, then sleep in the next morning.  But tonight, I am forcing myself to stay up until 10 pm so I can feed Emma one more time.  FORCING!!  It doesn't seem all that long ago that I was pulling all nighters with my girlfriends, or Jake and I were talking on the phone through the night.  And now...well, let's just say night time is the hardest time to love being a mom :)  I am trying to do my best to cherish every moment I have with my kids.  But does it really have to come at 12:30...and 2:30...and 4:45...and again at 6:30??  (These are all AMs, by the way).

But the days just keep on ticking by, and my kids keep getting older and older!  Calvin is becoming more of a little boy every day and it is amazing to watch him develop and learn things.  Today he was tracing letters I wrote out for him.  And he is saying new words all the time.  Things like "absolutely" and "perhaps".  Words that when said in a sweet little two year old voice make your heart absolutely melt.  And today was a BIG milestone!  We had a poop in the potty!!  We've had poops in the potty before, but this was the first time Calvin told me he needed to go.  It was a BIG day in the Eschbach household.  And yes, I am cracking myself up over the fact that I am SO excited over a poop in the potty. 

Calvin showing off his treat for the big poop :)

How crazy cute is this kid?
And in Emma news...she is four months old already!  She is so, so close to rolling over...if only that darn arm would get out of the way!  We call her the squack box because she is constantly chatting, and making sure her opinion is heard.  She's still pretty unpredictable and we've had a hard time getting on a good schedule.  Sometimes her naps only last about 45 minutes and sometimes she sleeps 2 1/2 hours.  She went through a good couple weeks of sleeping through most of the night, but she's back to waking up every couple hours.  She's still sleeping in our room, so it makes for some pretty long nights.  We love her to bits though, and we love what she has added to our family. 

How sweet is this angel face?

She'll be rolling in no time!